Some intelligent playmaking from Pontypridd, with young pivot Dai Flanagan directing operations, gave the home team the impetus to advance into their opponents’ twenty-two. A series of phases took Ponty right up to the visitors’ line, no 8 Dan Godfrey burrowing over for a try, converted by outside half Flanagan.
Cross Keys responded with some forward drives, gaining a field position for full back Gethin Worgan to drill over a penalty from in front of the posts. The Gwent team were now making huge advances into the home half with their impressive charges, but Worgan off target with a mid distance penalty attempt. A brief foray by Ponty into opposition territory allowed Dai Flanagan to launch a penalty between the posts from forty metres out. A game interrupted by injuries had not so far hit top gear, but both sides lacking nothing in their creative endeavours to provide a competitive contest.
Some excellent support play from Ponty on an attacking spree gave the game some impetus, hooker Ben Phillips breaking a tackle to dart over for a fine try, again converted by Flanagan. Ponty were now gathering momentum, breaking the gain line with pace and power, another concerted period of pressure rewarded as prop Gerald Cox charged over for a try, converted from in front of the posts by Flanagan. The home team looked irrepressible, seizing every loose ball to instigate attacks from deep. Cross Keys recovered briefly from their defensive duties, full back Worgan successful with a penalty attempt against the general run of play. Ponty were soon back in the driving seat, linking up well to advance once more into the Keys’ twenty-two, and fully deserving their interval lead of 24 pts to 6.
The home team yielded ground as the second half commenced, backtracking in the face of the Keys’ pack’s forceful drives. Turning over possession, Ponty set off on a counter offensive led by a strong run from centre Tom Riley, but unable to follow up a kick through from Jason Pocock. Undaunted, Ponty made further yardage upfield, allowing Dai Flanagan to convert a simple penalty attempt. Cross Keys retaliated with another spate of forward charges, one stopped short by a big hit tackle from Dale McIntosh, but keeping up their momentum to release winger Nathan Williams for an overlap try out wide.
The visitors now showed a greater competitive edge, grappling for possession to pin Ponty back in their own half, the home team often scrambling back in defence to contain their opponents’ drives. The game was becoming increasingly dominated by the referee’s whistle, largely a stalemate between the two battling sets of forwards. A substitution saw debutant flanker Danny Hodges coming on for Lee Evans as Ponty once more soaked up a torrid period of pressure, with no 8 Dan Godfrey sin binned for infringing.
Having performed admirably in defence, Ponty did their best to break out of their own half, with forays instigated by Tom Riley and Darren Berry. Claiming clean line out ball, Ponty set off on the attack, winger Chris Clayton hauled down just short of the line. Such flashes of inspiration were now a rarity with the referee’s whistle still frequently heard. Geraint Liddon came on for Gerald Cox and Jason Lewis for Dafydd Lockyear, with Dan Godfrey also returning from the sin bin. Ponty were spurred on in their efforts to break the deadlock, Tom Riley slicing through in midfield for a well taken try, the score converted by Flanagan.
Further substitutions now saw Grant Harrington on in place of Chris Martenko and Richard Langmead for Dai Flanagan, before winger Darren Berry seized an interception, sending Tom Riley clear for a try, converted by Langmead. Stuart Williams was next off the bench in place of Ryan Harford, but having little time to make an impression. An entertaining encounter came to a close with Ponty running out hugely impressive winners by 41 pts to 11.
15.Jason Pocock. 14.Chris Clayton. 13.Tom Riley. 12.Dafydd Lockyear (Jason Lewis). 11.Darren Berry. 10.Dai Flanagan (Richard Langmead). 9.Gareth Jones.
1.Gerald Cox (Geraint Liddon). 2.Ben Phillips. 3.Ryan Harford (Stuart Williams). 4.Dale McIntosh – cpt. 5.Chris Martenko (Grant Harrington). 6.Lee Evans (Danny Hodges). 7.Wayne O’Connor. 8. Dan Godfrey.
“Golden Bob” man of the match – Tom Riley
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